If you think a burger is simply ground meat between two halves of a bun, celebrity chef and television star Rachael Ray will set you straight in her latest cookbook, The Book of Burger, published this month by Atria Books. “I love playing with the idea of what people think of when they think of burgers,” she tells Show Daily. “You can make a burger out of anything—seafood, vegetables, all kinds of ground meats.”
For Ray, the family food guru, this is the first cookbook she’s written that focuses primarily on one kind of food. Why the burger? “I’ve been burger obsessed for years. And I like what a burger says. It says, ‘friendly, everybody’s welcome, casual—it’s okay to use your hands,’ and I just think it deserves more respect than it gets.”
An unusual feature of The Book of Burger is that it is a “smart book.” There are QR codes throughout that readers can scan to get additional cooking information. Ray explains, “You will get all the extra recipes I write after the book if they’re burger related—so there’s added value there. There are a couple of interviews that I did for the book and short videos [in the e-book] showing the assembly of a couple of the bigger burgers, so it’s just a different idea of what books can be and should be in the future. I’ve always been very proud of the fact that everything I associate myself or my brand with, including cookbooks, is the biggest value of its kind, and we just keep adding to that value with each new book concept. You’re getting more bang for your buck.”
It’s hard for the burger maven to choose her favorite recipe from the book, but there are several that are big winners. “One of my favorite sliders is the seven-layer slider that I designed for the South by Southwest music festival a couple years back. It’s definitely the highest slider I’ve ever seen. I just love the idea of seven toppings on one little burger that you can eat in a couple of bites—it’s fun. And I love a lot of the ‘sloppy’ recipes. Messy Giuseppe is probably my favorite—it’s an Italian-style sloppy joe. I like the sloppy dog recipes, too—I like playing around with hot dogs. I love the little spicy corn dogs—the deviled corn dogs. I love the fried chicken sliders on a biscuit. It’s just a really cheerful collection of recipes to read through. It makes you want to hang out with your friends and have a burger party.”
Ray will be signing books at the Atria booth (3657), 2–3 p.m. Sorry, fans, no samples will be served.